In answer to one of the questions that was repeated marginally less than 82,000 times over the Christmas period by my 4 year old nephew (although admittedly he doesn't call me Frau Dietz), I am this week mostly:
■ being as teetotal and as close to vegetarian as I’m ever going to get as part of B and my self-inflicted Health Month, the point of such austere sobriety being to shift one or two of the kilos that have slowly embraced my girth since we moved here last March. We have even bought scales and selected end-of-month weight-loss prizes (although given that B has chosen as his prize his favourite album on vinyl, I suspect he may well win regardless of the actual results)
■ swimming very hard (see above)
■ observing the Rhein: first it rose so high that the island in the middle all but disappeared; now it's so foggy that as one crosses over it, the river is no longer even visible
■ speaking a LOT of German: not only in my classes but also now at home with B, which is satisfying. I have also suddenly lost the fear of talking to people and even if it’s just down to the fact that I’m turning into my mother, I’m practising on anyone who so much as glances in my direction (particular apologies this week go to the poor chap who runs the deli where I was attempting to buy a Turkish spice mix; the lady who runs the Asian supermarket who has seen so much of me in the last ten days that she’s started giving me free things in an attempt to get me out of her shop; and the grandma in the frozen section of Tegut on Saturday who made the mistake of asking if my sprouts were in a good condition)(this is not a euphemism)
■ watching a lot of the German crime drama Tatort, which is a national institution that's been introduced by the same theme tune every week since it started 40 years ago. (I have of course developed a series of special Tatort dance moves to compliment the music.) I sort of feel I know where I stand with a whodunit, so even when I can’t understand a word anyone’s saying I at least know they’re trying to work out, for example, who stuffed a fish into the mouth of some poor dead woman shortly after the opening credits
■ reading other people's diaries: by day, Vann Nath's Cambodian Prison Portrait and by night, since I felt that a personal record of a year’s torture in the S-21 prison wasn’t ideal bedtime reading, especially for someone prone to exhaustingly lucid dreams, James Boswell’s London Journal
■ speaking English with small German and Italian children (for their benefit not mine, though I hasten to add that my colouring-in has been coming along in leaps and bounds this week).
And to think it’s only Tuesday. I'm exhausted. Time to climb into bed with Boswell.